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Comparative effectiveness of inhaled corticosteroids for paediatric asthma: protocol for a systematic review and Bayesian network meta-analysis

22 Oct 2015


Use of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) is the mainstream maintenance therapy for paediatric asthma. Several forms of ICS are available, but the relative effectiveness among ICS has not been well investigated in published, randomised, controlled trials. The paucity of direct comparisons between ICS may have resulted in insufficient estimation in former systematic reviews/meta-analyses. To supplement the information on the comparative effectiveness of ICS for paediatric asthma, we plan to conduct a network meta-analysis that will enable summary of direct and indirect evidence.

Methods and analysis

We will retrieve randomised, controlled trials that examined the effectiveness of ICS for paediatric asthma from the PubMed and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. After one author scans the title and abstract for eligible studies, two authors will independently review study data and assess the quality of the study. Studies of children (≤18 years old) with chronic asthma or recurrent wheezing episodes will be included if they used ICS for ≥4 weeks. We will define a priori core outcomes and supplemental outcomes of paediatric asthma, including exacerbation, healthcare use and pulmonary function. Studies reporting a minimum of one core outcome will be entered into the systematic review. After the systematic review is performed, extracted data of relevant studies will be synthesised in the Bayesian framework using a random-effects model.

Ethics and dissemination

The results will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.

Protocol registration number

UMIN (000016724) and PROSPERO (CRD42015025889).

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open